While a balanced diet will always be the best source of nutrition for your child, sometimes having a little extra boost of vitamins and minerals can be helpful. Children are incredibly picky eaters and a simple daily multivitamin could help to fill in the gaps.
Gummy vitamins have become popular in recent years. They’re more palatable, come in fun shapes and colors, and there’s typically no difficulty in getting your child to take one every day. However, there’s a downside to gummies. Most of the products on the market are loaded with sugar. Even the consistency of gummies can become a problem when thinking in terms of oral hygiene.
To protect your child’s smile and reduce your dental bills, you’ll need to consider whether gummies are doing more harm than good.
The Sugar Content of Gummy Vitamins
Sugar is the biggest enemy to healthy teeth. With sugar occurring (often naturally) in many of our staple food groups, it’s important to manage the intake that your child receives.
Popular gummy vitamins can contain between 2 and 5 grams of sugar per serving.
You might be surprised to learn that sugar itself isn’t the actual cause of tooth decay, but it is a major component. Oral bacteria feasts on sugar and other carbohydrate sources like starches and grain. The bacteria produces acid, which in turn damages tooth enamel. The longer that sugar and other carbohydrates are left in the mouth, the more chance there is for cavities to develop.
Regular brushing will starve bacteria, resulting in less cavity-causing acids. Foods that stay in the mouth for longer will cause more damage. This is where the dark side of gummies becomes apparent.
The consistency of gummies means that sugar can stay in the mouth for much longer between brushing. Sugary gum can coat the surface of teeth and become lodged in gaps and around the gums. This creates a perfect breeding ground for bacteria.
While your child may be getting their vitamins, the damage to their teeth will offset the benefits
Damage Between Brushes
It’s recommended that kids brush their teeth at least twice per day. If your child is taking a gummy in the morning after brushing their teeth, or even at night time before bed, then all that gum and sugar will remain for hours at a time.
This leaves you with a couple of different options
- •You could serve a multivitamin gummy before kids brush their teeth, reducing the time that sugar stays in the mouth.
- You could opt for a standard powder-based chewable multivitamin that can easily be washed away with a drink of water.
The second option is definitely the best. You won’t have to follow any special routine and your kids could take the multivitamin at any time of the day, followed by a glass of water.
You might be tempted to choose a gummy vitamin that doesn’t include added sugar, but you’ll still have the problem of the multivitamin getting stuck around teeth and gums. This could lead to other food getting stuck, increasing bacteria activity between brushes.
Make the Right Decision for Your Child’s Smile
The decision here is quite simple. You want to protect your child’s teeth. Decay could lead to cavities and costly fillings and other oral work. It’s also not a great idea to be giving your child extra sources of sugar. This could affect their palate and lead to cravings for sweet food.
There might be some adjustment needed to have your child take a standard chewable tablet, but the health benefit outweighs any of the downsides.
Kid’s smiles bring joy to every home. It’s your job to protect that smile throughout your child’s development. Give your child the best chance of preserving their teeth, while avoiding painful cavities.
Find out how to improve your child’s oral health, and receive specialist care in a fun, comfortable, and caring environment. Contact us today and visit us at our Massapequa pediatric dentistry.